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BRIAN CHILSON

LANDOSKY: The Little Rock bike and pedestrian coordinator is working to improve the capital city’s cycling infrastructure. process can take eight months to a year and involves working with city leaders — the mayor, city council members, the parks department, usually a chamber of commerce — and hosting many public meetings, Roberts said. “All the cyclists in spandex will come out to a meeting and say, ‘We need routes. But it’s pedestrians, too. We’re looking at active mobility — whether it’s off-road trails or on-road, we’re looking at how to connect the community to all the amenities.” Roberts often leads city leaders on “walk audits” of a small area of a downtown to point out barriers to different modes of mobility — people in wheelchairs, people walking, people on bikes. “A city leader who grew up in a community might not notice that there’s a power pole in the middle of the sidewalk or that there are a bunch of curb cuts along a bike route,” Roberts said. When Crafton Tull provides cities bike and pedestrian plans, it offers “a literal road map that says, ‘Do this first. Do this second, etc.’ There might be 20 phases,” Roberts said. That way, cities can go after grant funding and try to build on their infrastructure incrementally. In 2015, the city of Little Rock passed a Complete Streets ordinance, which requires

that the city design its transportation infrastructure to “accommodate all anticipated users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, persons with disabilities, freight haulers and motorists.” When Little Rock builds or resurfaces streets, the city is supposed to consider all those people and riders. Last year, Little Rock received a $50,000 Metroplan Transportation Alternative Grant for which the city is required to provide at least a 20 percent match. It has a request for qualifications out now to redo the city’s Master Street Plan. Landosky anticipates much of the work redoing the Master Street Plan will be redeveloping the city’s bike plan, which was developed by advocates, not planners. There’s no agreement on a fix for getting folks biking or walking the Arkansas River Trail safely through the stretch of Cantrell Road in front of the Dillard’s headquarters and Episcopal Collegiate school, but the city does have funding and is working on connecting the River Trail to Central High School and in making all of the downtown portion of the trail, the Medical Mile, off-road. In Northwest Arkansas, Bike NWA, with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, developed protected bike lane pilot projects

in Fayetteville, Springdale and Siloam Springs that began in December 2018 and will run until December of this year. LaneShift is a consultant for the Springdale and Siloam Springs projects. “Hopefully, there will be enough data to compel the cities to make the projects permanent,” Hale said. “There have been people who love it and people who don’t. Change is hard.” Narrowing roadways to allow space for bikes is something a lot of people have a hard time grasping, he said. “The fact of the matter is that we used to believe that wider streets meant safer streets, but what the data shows now is that wider streets means faster streets,” Hale said. “When we’re able to narrow the lanes, it calms the roadway. A narrower lane in most circumstances makes it safer in all cases.” Jacobs would love to see that kind of thinking codified across the state. He said the Department of Transportation’s state Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan was a good start, but he hoped the state might one day adopt a Complete Streets plan with requirements for building roads and other infrastructure that accounts for all kinds of transportation.  

“All the cyclists in spandex will come out to a meeting and say, ‘We need routes. But it’s pedestrians, too. We’re looking at active mobility — whether it’s off-road trails or on-road, we’re looking at how to connect the community to all the amenities.”

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26 | BIKE ARKANSAS issue no. 11

Profile for Arkansas Times

Bike Arkansas | Fall 2019  

A Trail With a View Riding with Dave Roberts Playing In The Dirt Mountain biking’s growing popularity with women cyclists Boking Down to E...

Bike Arkansas | Fall 2019  

A Trail With a View Riding with Dave Roberts Playing In The Dirt Mountain biking’s growing popularity with women cyclists Boking Down to E...